Reports by RAJES PAUL and LIM TEIK GUAT
Pictures by S.S. KANESAN and GLENN GUAN
VETERAN Mohd Roslin Hashim survived a scare to reach the second round of the men’s singles event in the World Championships but Malaysia’s focus was not on him at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
After a poor start, Roslin defeated Sweden’s Magnus Sahlberg 21-17, 21-9 to set up a match against China’s Chen Jin today.
“I was not nervous but found it hard to cope with the conditions here. The draught in the stadium was strong. I will have to be faster against Chen Jin tomorrow,” said Roslin.
Instead of Roslin, Malaysia’s attention was on five of Lee Chong Wei’s probable opponents – Chen Jin and his compatriot Chen Yu, Dane Peter Gade-Christensen and Indonesians Simon Santoso and Sony Dwi Kuncoro.
The five are in the same half of the draw as second seed Chong Wei, who received a first-round bye yesterday.
The Malaysian team, with the help of doubles players as well, were busy recording their matches for Chong Wei to review. Of the five, only Simon and Sony were stretched.
The 23-year-old Simon was on the brink of defeat at 8-15 in the decider but recovered for a 20-22, 21-11, 21-19 win over crafty Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh.
Sony also stared at defeat but pulled up his socks to beat Indian Chetan Anand 11-21, 21-14, 21-18.
Gade-Christensen and the two Chens, however, looked sharp in their first-round victories.
The Dane, who will take on Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit today, said: “I have good opponents in my half (of the draw). Every match is going to be difficult for me. I have won a silver and two bronze medals in the championships and I am focusing on winning the gold this time.”
Chong Wei will open his campaign against Holland’s Eric Pang in the second round today. Barring an upset, the 25-year-old Chong Wei is expected to take on Sony in the third round.
Chief coach Yap Kim Hock said: “Misbun’s (Sidek) charges – Chong Wei and Hafiz (Hashim) – did not have any matches today but they were on court here as early as 6.30am for a training session. We will also be reviewing the videos and our players will be ready to face their opponents.”
Hafiz will take on India’s Anup Sridhar today while another Malaysian, Lee Tsuen Seng of the KLRC Bhd, will be up against last year’s runner-up Bao Chunlai of China.
Top national women’s singles shuttler Wong Mew Choo got off to a good start, cruising into the second round with a 21-10, 21-9 win over Austria’s Simone Prutsch.
Mew Choo, who will take on Russian Ekaterina Ananina today, said: “My knee injury has not healed completely but it did not give me any trouble at all today. I know that no Malaysian woman has made it to the quarter-finals before and I hope can stay on track.”